Carmel Monthly-August 2022

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Bob Swanay COLLECTIVE PUBLISHING PUBLICATION Carmel_2022August_Cover.indd 1


Previewing the Reopening of the Carmel Clay Public Library’s Main Branch

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The Car Room Event Space

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The Grand Reopening of the Carmel Clay Public Library’s Main Branch This month, we are pleased to offer a sneak peek at the newly renovated Carmel Clay Public Library and would like to thank CCPL Director Bob Swanay and CCPL Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Hamilton for taking our team on a tour of the building and brand new three-level parking garage ahead of the grand reopening celebration that will take place on Saturday, October 1. Photo // Laura Arick


Center Presents: Herb Alpert and Lani Hall in Concert



Civic Theatre Presents “Rent”

PUBLISHER / Neil Lucas / 317-460-0803


Experience the Magic of the Indy Jazz Fest

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / Neil Lucas / 317-460-0803


Friends of Hamilton County Parks’ 4th Annual “On Par for Parks”


Carmel Clay Public Library to Unveil Art Piece by Walter Knabe


Carmel’s Own Jake Letts and Taylor Bickett: Where Are They Now?

PUBLISHER / Lena Lucas / 317-501-0418 DIRECTOR OF SALES / Lena Lucas / 317-501-0418 HEAD WRITER / Janelle Morrison / 317-250-7298

Business Spotlight is sponsored content.

Stay informed on news and events in Carmel by following us on Twitter and Facebook CARMELMONTHLYMAGAZINE



For advertisement sales call Lena Lucas 317-501-0418 or email COLLECTIVE PUBLISHING, LLC - PO BOX 6326 - FISHERS, IN 46037 CARMEL MONTHLY

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Go to to receive its e-newsletters for events in Carmel.


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We Guac Your World

Offers Fresh and Locally Sourced Products

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of We Guac Your World

In this month’s Carmel Farmers Market spotlight, we are pleased to feature Myriam Lopez-Murguia aka Myriam Boyer, owner at We Guac Your World. If you haven’t tried Lopez-Murguia’s fresh guacamole yet, you are missing out! We spoke with Lopez-Murguia about her company and what makes her guacamole, salsa verde and pico de gallo different and so delicious! Lopez-Murguia sells all of her delectable products at local farmers markets, and she also has a super user-friendly website for customers to order for “pick up” from the any of the farmers markets that she participates in during the markets’ season. So, for those who like to plan ahead and ensure they have Lopez-Murguia’s amazing guacamole and cactus salad, served along with her baked tostadas, for a weekend gathering or cookout, We Guac Your World makes menu planning easy!

GROWING A BUSINESS Lopez-Murguia is originally from Monterrey, Nuevo León, in Mexico. When she arrived in the U.S., she saw the lack of freshly made food at events like festivals, fairs and farmers markets. All of Lopez-Murguia’s products are made with all-natural ingredients and are free of preservatives and artificial colors or flavors. Additionally, they are made from scratch, and the fresh vegetables are chopped on the Friday before the farmers markets to ensure the freshest and most flavorful tastes! Lopez-Murguia added, “Ever since I got here to the United States, I always had it in my mind to have a business selling guacamole. People always told me that my guacamole, pico de gallo and salsa verde are very good and that I should sell them.” A mom of two young children at the time, Lopez-Murguia founded We Guac Your World in 2012 and began selling her three main products at the Fishers Farmers Market. Upon demand from her growing customer base, Lopez-Murguia added even more fresh and healthy products to her

menu, including cactus salad, avocado salad, bake tostados and Mexican lime pie. Expanding her service area, Lopez-Murguia also began selling at the Broad Ripple Farmers Market and eventually the Carmel Farmers Market. “I also did the City Market downtown for six years until COVID hit,” Lopez-Murguia shared. “I love the Carmel Farmers Market — and one reason that helped me to be a vendor in the Carmel [Farmers Market] is the fact that customers from Carmel who went to other markets asked why I was not in the Carmel [Market], and I was like, ‘Well, tell the people in Carmel that you want me there.’ And I was finally accepted, and I love being a vendor at this market.”

LIVING HER DREAM While raising her children, Lopez-Murguia was also growing her business, and after getting a divorce, she was a single mom with two children, and she was determined to save for their college. While working a full-time, 40-houra-week job and raising her children, Lopez-Murguia spent no less than another 30-plus hours a week building her business. Her children are now a sophomore and senior in high school and have spent many hours working alongside their mother, undoubtedly learning a strong work ethic and the importance of preparing and offering fresh and healthy products to a community. “It seems like yesterday that I formed the LLC and was putting them on the


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[school] bus for the very first time,” Lopez-Murguia reflected. “I have a full-time job as an accountant for the Carmel United Methodist Church, and I continue to do my business on the side. I normally have 8 to 10 people — mostly moms — who work with me. It gets them out of the house in the mornings, and they make some extra money. I always thank God for all these beautiful people that he’s bringing to me, so I can continue to realize my dream. Because this is my dream, and my joy, and I cannot do it by myself.” During the summer, Lopez-Murguia has a lot of young people who work with her, and she takes great pride in sharing her knowledge and work ethic with them. Lopez-Murguia added, “They learn a lot of a little bit of everything. And most of them ask me for letters of recommendation, because this was their first job.” Part of the knowledge that Lopez-Murguia shares with her staff is the important of being environmentally conscious and how to properly compost and recycle waste, which is an important part of her business practices. Using locally sourced products from local farms is equally important to Lopez-Murguia. “I buy from local farmers when I can, as long as they [the products] are good and flavorful,” Lopez-Murguia said. “I have a friend who plants cilantro and peppers for me. She calls me and tells me to come get them, and we have to pick them ourselves sometimes. I am a super neat freak, so we wash everything before we use them, including the limes before we squeeze them and the avocados before we chop them.” Every week, Lopez-Murguia and her team chop 350 pounds of tomatoes every Friday and go through 600 avocados each Saturday. Lopez-Murguia concluded, “There are a lot of logistics behind this business, but I absolutely love my business.” For more information or to place orders for pick up at your preferred farmers market, visit, email or text questions to (317)496-7061. For a complete list of all the Carmel Farmers Market vendors, visit


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World Class Cabaret at Carmel City Center Sept. 9



This unique young singer/actress is a throwback to another era; everything about her – voice and personality -- glows with the burnished shine of timeless quality. It's no wonder that she has a natural affinity for the songs of the Great American Songbook. More importantly, she has the talent to sing them like they were written for her!

Take a little pop, throw in some R&B, mix it with some soul and add a touch of jazz and the result is the electrifying sounds of Blair Clark. He has captivated audiences through Europe, Canada and all over the U.S. appearing at numerous concerts, festivals, private events, and clubs.

Sept. 18


Patricia, aka Pat Yo’ Weave has been an entertainer within the Indianapolis area for the last 14 years. Pat’s journey with female impersonation began after she wanted to give back to the community and joined a local group (The Bag Ladies) who raised money for those in need through the DEFA fund. After her work with The Bag Ladies, Pat knew she wanted to do more than just charity work, so she began performing at Zonies Closet and many other Venues around town and the state. Pat is now the show director and hostess of many successful brunch and night shows.

DECEPTION is a magic & mind reading show, hosted by magician David Ranalli. David creates an unforgettable evening by combining world-class sleight of hand, witty banter, and mysteries of the mind. Guests are invited into an intimate space where surprises lurk in every corner. Perfect as a date night, group event, and for the hardcore magic fan.

Sept. 29

Sept. 30

Join us for an evening celebrating the life and music of the legendary star of stage and screen, Debbie Reynolds. Including Debbie’s hits “You Made Me Love You,” “I Ain’t Down Yet,” “Singin’ In The Rain,” “Aba Daba Honeymoon,” “Good Mornin’,“ “Belly Up To The Bar Boys,” and “Moonglow,” this elegant and uplifting show is a taste of the very best of Debbie’s nightclub and cabaret acts. Julie Lyn Barber is a Canadian singer-actor based in the Midwest. Barber’s eclectic vocal experience ranges from opera to musical theatre to jazz.

Cara Dineen weaves a story of female empowerment with music from the boldest female performers of the past 100 years. Audience members are invited to partake in an expansive journey that spans multiple genres, eras, and styles with original jazz arrangements featuring the music of Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, and Bjork. Touching upon everything from heartache to fulfillment, Cara presents an evening of divine feminine inspiration as she pays homage to the female performers who, by sharing their authentic experience, inspired generations of people to find their own personal power and voices. A portion of ticket proceeds will be donated to “The Lift Music Fund”, which helps underserved BIPOC student musicians afford costs to advance their musical training.



For tickets go to or scan QR

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Sandy is an internationally recognized jazz vocalist known as, "Indy's Queen of Scat" in her hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. She has received many honors for her work and most recently was awarded Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis.


Sept. 23-24 Dubbed ”America’s new romantic singing sensation,” critically-acclaimed singer, songwriter and entertainer Anthony Nunziata returns to the Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael after two sold-out concert engagements. Nunziata is touring a series of intimate concerts with his signature take on classic love songs and his timeless originals. The beloved Italian-American tenor has planned a setlist that includes some of the most romantic music including a selection of classic standards, arias, famed love songs and celebrated original songs, along with tunes from his critically acclaimed new album, The Love Album.


An American singer songwriter, and Nashville recording artist, known for his unique style and familiar Americana Rock sound. Born in Indianapolis, Cosner has been writing, recording, and releasing original music since he was 13 years old.

Sept. 17


Sept. 16


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HERB ALPERT AND LANI HALL IN CONCERT THE PALLADIUM // THURSDAY, SEPT. 22, 7:30 P.M. ET Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Dewey Nicks

Trumpeter Herb Alpert rose to fame in the 1960s with his band the Tijuana Brass and went on to score hits with “A Taste of Honey,” “What Now My Love,” “This Guy’s in Love with You” and “Rise.” He has earned nine Grammy Awards and sold more than 72 million records. He also is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee as co-founder of A&M Records, one of the most successful independent labels in music history. Lani Hall, Alpert’s wife, is a Grammywinning vocalist and producer who first gained attention as lead singer for Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 and later sang the title theme for the James Bond film “Never Say Never Again.” PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS AT THECENTERPRESENTS.ORG. The last 2 years may have kept legendary trumpeter Herb Alpert and his Grammy-winning vocalist wife Lani Hall from completing their North American tour, but 2022 has showed the dynamic duo are making up for lost time both creatively and performance-wise. Last September, Herb released his latest 14-song album, “Catch the Wind,” which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Current Contemporary Jazz Album Charts. Herb’s Grammy-winning album and title track, “Rise,” released in 1979, has once again surged to the top of the charts, 42 years after it last dominated the airwaves, thanks to the classic soundtrack of the newly released Netflix film “Spiderhead,” starring Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller.

In January, Lani Hall released “Seasons of Love,” her first album in 24 years. Emotionally and thematically, “Seasons of Love” reflects the depth and breadth of Lani and Herb’s 49 years as marriage partners and artistic collaborators. On the LP, Lani brings her rich life experience, deepened perspective and accrued wisdom to a song cycle that explores the nuances of an enduring relationship. Speaking to the title track of her album from the Broadway musical hit “Rent,” Lani said, “I love the beautiful message, and I love how this song breaks down life in increments.” The album reached the top 10 on the Contemporary Jazz Album chart.

Janelle Morrison: Congratulations on the release of your latest albums, and I’d like to congratulate you and Lani on 49 years of marriage! What’s the secret? Herb Alpert: Thank you. We’ve been together longer than that but officially married for 49 [years], which is pretty amazing. They said it couldn’t be done. [Laughing]. The secret is I married an angel. I love her, and we communicate. We don’t go to sleep angry with each other, and if we have a problem, we try to work it out and be honest. I kind of learned years ago: she’s from Venus and I’m from Mars. I’ve always been conscious of thinking of things from her point of view when we run into a little snag.


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JM: What made you two decide this was the right time to go back out on tour, and what are you most excited about regarding this specific tour? Alpert: We’ve touring for the last 14 years but had to take time off for COVID, and we had to postpone a lot of engagements. So, we’re in the process of making those up, and we’re booked through 2023. I’m enjoying it! I love to play and to make a certain amount of people happy with the music that I make, and it’s a great honor to be able to do that.

JM: You’ve witnessed a lot of evolutions in the music industry and the music culture over the many decades. Right now, I think our nation is trying to figure out what do with one another, heal from the damage to humanity over the last few years and move forward. What are your thoughts on music and the arts in general being a source of that healing process? Alpert: There’s no doubt in my mind that music is the heart and soul of our country — and the arts in general. We need artists, and we need music in our lives. I’m very steeped in jazz and helping to promote that form of music, because I think it’s what everybody is looking for — it’s all about freedom. I think most people are pursing to be free.

JM: You and Lani founded the Herb Alpert Foundation and are strong advocates for getting the arts back into the

schools. What are your thoughts on the importance of outreach programs and being engaged in the arts? Alpert: The arts need to be a core part of our children’s education, and unfortunately, they’ve been wiped out for the most part in public and even in a lot of private schools. There’s a wealth of good things that happen through the arts, and the kids need to rub elbows with it at an early age. It doesn’t mean they have to be professional musicians; they just have to understand why [music], the importance of it and the need for it to be an integral part of our lives. The reason why I’m so involved in the arts is because I love the mystery of it. I think art is a “feeling.” If I stumble around trying to identify the beauty of all the arts, I’d never “get” it. If you stand in front of a Jackson Pollock painting and try to find a reason for it, you’ll never get it. But if you just take it in and let yourself go to that other dimension — you’ll get it. I think music is the same way. Don’t think too hard about it — is it good, is it bad, is it hip, is it corny, is it jazz or is it pop? Who cares? It doesn’t matter. The question is, “Does it touch you when you hear it?” That’s the kind of music I try to make, and hopefully, it will touch another person along the line. I hope to inspire others to support the arts — that’s one of my goals as well.

JM: I’ve heard you say in previous interviews that being authentic and passionate are important attributes in an artist, and going back to when you

co-founded A&M Records, you listened to auditions with your eyes closed. Alpert: I learned that from Sam Cooke. I worked with Sam years back, and he taught me a lot. Sam used his “gut.” He was a great soul singer and was part of the Soul Stirrers. He taught me a lot about what to look for and listen for. He would say to me, “Herb, people are listening to a cold piece of wax — it either makes it, or it don’t.” I know what he was trying to say is that it’s all about a “feel.” And it’s the beauty that is the mystery of the arts.

JM: What kinds of “feels” do you hope the audience will experience when you and Lani come to perform at the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana? Alpert: I think you will feel our energy, which is real. My wife is a world-class singer, and we have three world class musicians performing behind us. It’s a full type of experience that they’re going to have. I’ll do a “Tijuana Brass” retrospective and a medley of songs that people will recognize, and Lani will do that as well for Brasil ’66 with a medley that she does. We’re still doing music that makes us feel good and that we love to play. It’s different every night. It’s not a cookie cutter type of performance. We keep it fresh and real. That’s what I’ve been pursing for many years, and I try to be authentic. If you’re an artist out there and you’re looking for the answer — the answer is within you. You have to be authentic and try to find your own voice and your own way of doing what you love to do.


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“Rent” C i v i c T h e a t r e P r e s e n t s

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of Civic Theatre

Set in the East Village of New York City, “Rent” is about falling in love, finding your voice and living for today. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, “Rent” has become a pop cultural phenomenon with songs that rock and a story that resonates with audiences of all ages.


ased loosely on Puccini’s “La Boheme,” Jonathan Larson’s “Rent” follows a year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. How these young bohemians negotiate their dreams, loves and conflicts provides the narrative thread to this groundbreaking musical. Purchase your tickets at I sat down with some of the cast and with Civic’s Executive Artistic Director Michael Lasley to discuss why the actors chose to audition for their respective roles at Civic and what they hope the audiences will take away from their performances as well as from this musical itself.

Miata McMichel as Joanne Jefferson Miata McMichel’s first performance at Civic was “The Color Purple,” and she shared her personal experience with the cast and crew, which was one of the reasons why she has come back to perform for Civic and grace the stage with her exceptional talent and authenticity. “I just love being here [at Civic],” McMichael said. “I immediately grew attached to everyone involved in ‘The Color Purple,’ and I just knew that I had to come back — I didn’t care

what show it was. I could have been doing the ABCs, and I would have come back if Michael [Lasley] asked me to.” McMichel shared what performing in “Rent” means to her and her advocacy. “The reason I’m really excited about ‘Rent’ is not because I have a super large attachment to the show but because once I learned more about what the show is about and its history, I feel like it’s really important for me to be a representation here in Carmel, to continue to show up and encourage diversity in this particular area — and because we a had a cousin on my mother’s side who passed away from AIDS in 1996. So, I really want to be a representation for him and the African American LBGTQ community. It’s still a really taboo subject in my community, and I want to be a part of shedding light on that in any way possible.”

Austin Stodghill as Mark Cohen This will be Austin Stodghill’s first performance at Civic. Stodghill shared that it was an exciting and emotional moment when he got the call that he had clenched the role as Mark Cohen. “If fell in love with ‘Rent’ when I joined show choir in high school,” Stodghill shared. “‘Seasons of Love’ was a song that we sang, and I was like, ‘I might look more into this Rent show,’ and I loved it so much. When I

heard about the auditions for this, I prepped so hard for it. I’ve seen many shows here before, and it’s always high quality every time. I shed tears when he [Lasley] texted me that I got the part. I was so happy. I hope people see that I have a lot of heart for the role, and I love the message behind the musical itself and how much it brings awareness to a lot of issues in America.”

Austin Hookfin as Tom Collins This is Austin Hookfin’s first performance at Civic, and he shared with me why the role of Tom Collins is one of his “dream roles” in theatre. “‘Rent’ was one of my first shows that I ever experienced through my sisters back when I was in fifth or sixth grade,” Hookfin recalled. “I remember even as a kid, not knowing much about the world, just getting super emotional with the ‘Support Group’ and ‘Will I?’ songs, where they were talking about the AIDS crisis, it was just so unknown to so many people. They thought they were going to be dead three years ago, and they’re still alive, but they still have to go through so much. The mindset of it really spoke to me as a young kid.” Like it was for Stodghill, the moment when Hookfin got the text that he was going to play one of his dream roles — Tom Collins —it was exhilarating. “Once I got the text, I just kind of froze,” Hookfin said. “I’m just happy to show people my passion and love for this role and my take on it. And just being an ally to the LBGTQ community and being in a cast full of so many beautiful people of color as well, it’s a big deal for me.”

Lukas Robinson as Part of Ensemble Lukas Robinson’s first show at Civic was “Wait Until Dark.” He is excited to be back as a member of the ensemble in “Rent.” “‘Wait Until Dark’ sparked my theater joy again,” Robinson said. “I did [theater] all throughout high school and some in middle


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school. In the past three years, because of COVID-19 and everything, I’ve been out of anything in the arts, and what got me back into it was my uncle Joe Steiner, who does a bunch of shows, messaged me that I should audition for the show ‘Wait Until Dark,’ and I was like, ‘Why not?’ So, I got back in, and it really sparked my love for it [theater], and I’m just going to audition for everything at this point! I forgot how much I loved the community that builds in theater, the wide array of people that are here from so many different parts of life, all going together to create some magic and fun with people. It doesn’t always have to be a great show. It can be a weird show. But as long as somebody enjoys it, it’s a success.”

Director Michael Lasley I spoke with Lasley with about his efforts, as well as Civic’s, to ensure this theater is representing more people of color, and in the words of Lasley, it “is not only telling the stories of people in Carmel but telling other people’s stories.” “I feel like we’re making progress, but it’s slower than I’d like for it to be,” Lasley said. “I’ve been working towards the representation

in our casts for over 20 years and not just in the chair that I sit in now but as an employee of Civic. We made small end roads, but you have to follow up an opportunity with another opportunity. If you don’t, it will die on the vine. We tell stories — that’s what we do. Our goal is to give the audiences enough of what they want, what they crave — the comfortable things. But we also push it a little bit here and there, or in some cases, we push it a lot. ‘Rent’ is going to be like ripping a Band-Aid off for a lot of our audience members.” When speaking about the educational element of ‘Rent,’ Lasley said, “We’re looking at this show as a period piece, but it is not a museum piece. AIDS is still with us. There’s been an astounding number of human beings worldwide that have died of AIDS-related complications over the last 40 years. And COVID isn’t going away either. We’re going to have to keep fighting that. So, I think the two things looked at in tandem have some commonalities. Our job is to shine a light in the dark, and our hope is to do some real education and to say, ‘Hey, AIDS is still a real thing, a problem that still needs to be solved.’”


Joseph Massingale as Roger Davis Austin Stodghill as Mark Cohen Austin Hookfin as Tom Collins Kerrington Shorter as Benjamin Coffin III Miata McMichel as Joanne Jefferson Kendrell Stiff as Angel Dumott Schunard Jaelynn Keating as Mimi Marquez Olivia Broadwater as Maureen Johnson Ensemble Julia Ammons Allison Gibbs Marlana Haig Sarah Hoffman Zachary Hoover Maggie Lengerich Jehromey Middelton Lukas Robinson Jonathan Studdard Matthew Sumpter Alexandria Warfield Lincoln Wright

OCTOBER 7–22, 2022

Showtimes: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays @ 7:00 p.m. Sundays @ 2:00 p.m. *Rent contains mature content*

10/7 - 10/22 | 317.843.3800 13

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October 1 & 2 Garfield Park, MacAllister Amphitheater, Indianapolis, Indiana

Experience the Magic of the

Indy Jazz Fest

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of Indy Jazz Fest

Join us this October for Indianapolis’ 2-day celebration of jazz, featuring the best-in-world, renowned jazz superstars to Indy’s local jazz heroes. Indy Jazz Fest is the premier flagship event of the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation. The festival’s spectacular lineup will feature internationally and nationally renowned jazz artists, as well as several of Indy’s own extraordinary jazz artists!


on’t miss the start of this year’s festival — the Naptown Sound Kick-Off Celebration on September 30 at The Jazz Kitchen in Broad Ripple located at 5377 N. College Ave. The VIP event will feature more than 25 local artists and set the stage, so to speak, for an unforgettable festival and tribute to Indy’s Jazz history! A Celebration of Jazz Performance, Legacy and Education Festival Directors and musicians David Allee [owner of The Jazz Kitchen], Rob Dixon [Artistic & Education Director] and Indianapolis Jazz Foundation Board Member and musician Pavel Polanco-Safadit, spoke about the “vibe” of this year’s jazz festival, its purpose and why the organizers believe

this year’s Indy Jazz Fest is going to be epic. “Indy Jazz Festival is a nationally and internationally known [jazz] festival that began quite some time ago and is put on by the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation,” Polanco-Safadit shared. “It is full of jazz culture and global culture, and it’s so much fun to be a part of! One our goals [as a foundation] is to educate the communty about jazz music, global jazz and to be more connected to the community.” Polanco-Safadit emphasized the importance of inclusivity and engaging communities outside of the immediate jazz community in and around the Circle City. “The foundation has done a fantastic job last year and this year, reaching out to communities outside of Indianapolis through fundraising events and by

supporting other festivals by bringing jazz to them,” Polanco-Safadit said. “I just see that getting better and better as we go. So, I encourage everybody to get their tickets — this is THE year to come!” Allee added, “We use the festival as a kick-off and to celebrate what we have here locally. From the Foundation’s perspective, it’s kind of a three-pronged approach: the festival is a huge part of what falls under the performance side of our mission in addition to a lot of other concerts throughout the year. Legacy is another big prong of what we do, and the third is education. We not only help with our own programs but


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we are in schools and we help, monetarily, with projects while working with educators, administrators and band directors throughout the city.” Explore Indy’s Jazz Scene! Dixon emphasized the importance of celebrating and exploring jazz in Indiana by coming together as a community and experiencing Indy Jazz Fest and all that it has to offer! “Part of the Foundation’s mission is to celebrate performance and legacy, as well as educate people about the great jazz scene we have here in Indianapolis and acrosss the globe,” Dixon said. “Indy Jazz Fest gives us the opportunity to highlight a lot of local performers, as well as bring in some international and national talent. The festival also gives us a platform to showcase what we do educationally.” Dixon added, “There is so much to explore, and there’s a lot leading up to the festival to take part of, so please



check out our website. I’m sure that you’ll find something that you will love on the roster, and we’ve got a lot of great things planned this year. You don’t want to miss out!” Tickets for Indy Jazz Fest 2022 can be purchased at For more information on the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation, visit indyjazzfoundation. org, and be sure to check out for more information on The Jazz Kitchen!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1 • Tank and the Bangas • Lalah Hathaway • Norman Brown • Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science • From the 317 SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2 • Robert Glasper • Ghost-Note • Rebirth Brass Band • Butcher Brown • Jonathan Scales Fourchestra


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Williams explained, “We’ve been posting some fun videos of our board members and sponsors, and we’re doing text marketing this year, which is something new for us. It is designed to keep all of our participants up to speed on what’s happening prior to the event, during and post-event. We are also asking the community to tell us why they love the county’s parks and to post that to our social media, so we have this fun competition going on where someone can win a pop-up picnic in a park. We want to hear from the community on why they appreciate our parks. As patrons, volunteers and/ or donors, you are all making our parks that much better.”


F r i e n d s o f H a m i l t o n C o u n t y P a r k s ’

4th Annual “On Par for Parks” Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of FHCPI

Calling all golf enthusiasts! The Friends of Hamilton County Parks, Inc. (FHCPI) invites you to join them for the 4th Annual “On Par for Parks” Golf Tournament at the prestigious Crooked Stick Golf Club on Monday, September 19, 2022. Opportunities for sponsorship and a fourperson team golf scramble are available. All proceeds of this event will be used to support the mission of FHCPI for the betterment of the parks in Hamilton County.



HCPI was established in 2006 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, geared toward ensuring that all community members have access to parks that meet their needs and expectations in amazing ways. Looking to the future and driven by a mission to increase the number of parks and greenspace, the FHCPI board invites individuals and businesses to engage in its vision of a community rich in parks, trails and natural areas.


FHCPI Executive Director April Williams spoke with us about the impact that local sponsors have on the organization’s fundraising efforts for Hamilton County’s parks. “We are super excited because we have a great lineup of sponsors and we couldn’t be more pleased — we have four eagle sponsors and several hole sponsors this year,”

Williams expressed. “Our sponsors make it really fun because they’re out there — on the course — aligning themselves with a great cause and helping to make it a fun event. We’re really fortunate to host [the event] at Crooked Stick! My goodness, it’s a prestigious elite course, and they are so generous to let us host our outing and fundraiser there. It is our biggest fundraiser of the year. We also have a really fun lineup of vendors this year as well, and they, along with our sponsors, will set the theme and make the event a lot of fun.” Williams credited BlueSky Commerce and its founder and CEO Todd Irwin for their support and sponsorship. “Todd is on our board, and he’s the chair of this event,” Williams shared. “He really does a phenomenal job, and we’ve done some fun things with the marketing.” FHCPI is encouraging its participants and supporters to text FRIENDS to the number 55433 to win a Pop-Up Picnic in the Park and for other related announcements and information. CARMEL MONTHLY

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Williams shared that the event is already boasting a record 26 teams, and although they only have a few slots open [at the time of publishing], she would like to see some more female golfers involved in the outing. Williams added, “Crooked Stick was designed by both Pete and Alice Dye. It’s kind of cool that a female was involved in designing this course, and it would be great to have of our community’s female golfers fill the slots.” So, put your phones down and your laptops away and come enjoy the great outdoors, fellowship and a day out on one of Hamilton County’s most superb green spaces while making a meaningful impact to our county’s parks!

Visit, contact FHCPI at (317)853-6831 or email


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Room was exclusively for the library to use,” Swanay said. “So, that’s a change, as we are going to allow businesses to reserve and rent this space as well as our medium-sized [program and meeting] rooms on the second floor at a ‘business’ rate. Nonprofits can reserve the rooms at no charge.” The Community Room contains state-of-the art A/V equipment and a kitchenette for lunch meetings, etc. Swanay added that folks are able to bring in any catering services that they wish while utilizing the Community Room. Hamilton added, “The Community Room will be where attendees of the Guilded Leaf Book & Author [evening] event will come for the first time ever. We’re bringing [the evening event] home, and the Book and Author Luncheon will still be at Ritz Charles.”

Book Lockers

Previewing the Reopening of the

Carmel Clay Public Library’s Main Branch Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Laura Arick

This month, we are pleased to offer a sneak peek at the newly renovated Carmel Clay Public Library and would like to thank CCPL Director Bob Swanay and CCPL Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Hamilton for taking our team on a tour of the building and brand new three-level parking garage ahead of the grand reopening celebration that will take place on Saturday, October 1. The Results After a 2-Year Construction Period


he Main Library project is the result of nearly 3 years of planning. Design and construction took place in partnership with RATIO Architects (Architect), Skillman Corporation (Construction Manager), and the Veridus Group (Owner’s Representative). As Swanay and Hamilton walked us through building, we noticed that the main entry to the library is now on the north side of the building looking onto Main Street and Carmel High School. The other two primary entrances to the library come

in from the first and second floors of the parking garage. Our team was gobsmacked by the transformation of the library, and it was evident that every square inch of the building is being utilized and maximized for the benefit of its patrons, guests and staff.

Community Room

The new Community Room boasts a meeting and program space that is more than twice the size of the library’s prior Community Room. And it can be divided into two rooms for two separate programs or meetings. “In the past, our [Community] Program


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Patrons can access the brand-new book lockers in the garage lounge located on the first level of the new parking garage. Swanay added, “People will be able to pick up holds and will get a notification from the library that it’s ready to be picked up. All they will need to do is scan their library card and the [book] locker will pop open.”

Parking and Outdoor Space

“There are over 200 parking spaces in the garage and roughly 71 on the surface parking lot beside the garage,” Swanay said. “There are an additional 100 in the West Lot. The green space [west] of the library will be landscaped in September when it cools down, and we’re calling this the Event Lawn. It’s going to be a nice, even grass space, and there will be a row of trees fencing it in. We will have programs in that space, and we can use it year-round. One thing that I’m looking forward to, when it snows here, are the heated walks that when we flip a switch, the snow will melt off.”

Friends of the Library Book Store

Friends of the Library — a fundraising arm of the library — have been given a major upgrade in space and are among one of the more visible features upon entering the library from the main entrance. “The Friends of the Library are going to able to display a larger collection, and people will be able to browse more easily because it is more open,” Hamilton said. “We’re also doing some branded merchandise so people will come in and shop for books at a great price and pick up a t-shirt, coffee mug or perhaps a water bottle to show their support for the library. The Friends are 100 percent volunteer-driven, and they give the money they make from the bookstore back to the library to support the programming.” For more information on the Friends of the Library Bookstore and its hours, check CCPL’s website at


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The New Digital Media Lab

The new digital media lab rivals some college and university labs and boasts a plethora of technology stations, including 12 Mac stations, several more 3D printers, soundproof rooms and a video creation room. “Some of the 3D printers will print with different types of materials, such as clay and metal,” Swanay explained. “We’re getting a kiln installed [in the lab] to fire what’s been printed. I think what makes this space unique for the area is that we have specifically trained staff for this area who have different skill sets — some with video editing or 3D printing experience — so, there is a nice mix of skill sets among the digital media lab specialists.”

The Java House

The only thing that makes a brand-new library even better is the addition of a coffee house! The library was pleased to announce that Java House will provide café service at the expanded Main Library when it reopens. The Carmel-based company will operate the library’s 1,100-square-foot café space, serving their signature cold-brew coffee drinks, as well as tea, hot chocolate and snacks. Swanay added, “In addition to the ample seating indoors, we plan to have patio seating out here, and people in Carmel love patio seating. So, as people are driving along Main Street, they are going to see a very active library, whereas before it was just a brick façade. And since we’ll be serving high school students as a big part of our patron base, this Java House location will have more food and snack options than its other locations. Hours of operation will be posted on the Java House’s website as well as CCPL’s.

The Children’s Area

Words can hardly describe the transformation of the Children’s Area, Teen Area and Adult Area. You really have to see for yourself how remarkable these spaces are to fully appreciate them. “I just love the Children’s Area,” Swanay expressed. “Something that you’ll note — and the big difference from the previous version — is that each of the areas have their own color palette, the Children’s Area being the most colorful.” The Children’s Area is more expansive and features different tactile play stations such as a “Ranger” playhouse that can be converted into different themes to promote imaginative play and a life-size Lite Brite that all ages can enjoy! The Discovery Room offers a myriad of uses and functional space that can be divided into two spaces. When the Discovery Room isn’t being used for programs, the window wall can be completely opened, and Swanay shared that there will be games and

puzzles put out for children to play with. The Exploration Lab has computers and games and boasts a fun Lego® brick and magnet wall to encourage creative design and hand-eye-motor skills. There is a ton of fun and unconventional seating throughout the Children’s Area and respective labs. It makes every adult yearn to be a child again!

The Teen Zone

The amount of space that the teens have now is extraordinary and combined with the Digital Media Lab and Java House, they are getting practically their own facility. It is six times more space than the previous teen area. The seating and décor create a vibe in the Teen Zone that is more mature than the Children’s Area and is a solid blend of funky and sophisticated. The lighting is bright and fun without being blinding, and there are several new study rooms where people will have the ability to reserve them and upon reservation, they will be given a pin code to access the rooms. “For the first time, we have our own dedicated teen programming space for the [teen] department,” Swanay shared. “It’s set with tables and chairs, but we can break it down and reconfigure it in different ways for art classes, book discussions, ping pong or video game tournaments, etc.” And for the aspiring young artists, there is a room designated to the Artist in Residence. Swanay explained, “The idea here is that we will host a teen artist on a quarterly basis who will have this studio space to create and work on their projects. There is some display space on a wall in the Teen Zone that will showcase their work. It’s a great experience for a young artist to have.” Stay tuned for more information on how to apply for the Artist in Residency!

The Adult Area

Some patrons might think they’re on vacation while visiting the new Adult Area that houses the entire Adult collections on nearly all of the second floor minus the administrative wing. The Adult Area offers ample seating areas with an assortment of cozy chairs and workstations and a stunning view overlooking the Main Street roundabout. At night, the lights from within will illuminate the library’s north façade, showcasing its architectural splendor! There are additional meeting or study rooms on this level that can be reserved and accessed with a pin code just like the meeting rooms on the main level.

Hoosier Artists Featured

One of the more fascinating aspects of the new main branch is that it features some


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exquisite art from local artists! CCPL truly honors some of our state’s greatest artists in this way, and patrons and guests of the main branch will be welcomed by these wonderful works. As with tradition, the main branch will continue to feature local art on a designated wall on the main level that will rotate on a monthly basis and will be available for purchase through the Friends of the Library Bookstore. The Children’s Area features a fanciful and colorful wall mural and coordinating bulkhead mural by Huntington, Indiana, artist Bryan Ballinger. And the Teen Zone features a brilliant mural by Connor Heagy. And patrons and guests entering the library from the upper levels of the parking garage will be welcomed by a massive, commissioned piece by nationally renowned and Indianapolis-based artist Walter Knabe. The unveiling of Knabe’s piece will take place shortly before the grand reopening of the library. Follow CCPL’s social media and website for more information.

Questions for the Main Branch?

The temporary library at Merchants’ Square (2140 E 116th Street) and Digital Media Lab at 23 E Main Street are now permanently closed, but the CCPL staff is standing by to answer your questions. During this transition period, library staff are available to assist you in person at the West Branch and by phone at (317)814-3965 during West Branch open hours.

Visit the CCPL website for additional information about the main branch’s reopening timeline and related information at


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Carmel Clay Public Library t o U nv e i l A r t Piece by Wa lt e r K n ab e Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of Kelle Knabe

Upon the grand reopening of the Carmel Clay Public Library’s main branch, patrons and guests entering the library from the brand-new parking garage’s second level will be greeted by a spectacular 12-foot-wide and 7-and-a-halffoot tall art piece commissioned by CCPL and created by nationally renowned and Indianapolis-based artist Walter Knabe. THE WORK OF WALTER KNABE Walter Knabe is an American multi-disciplinary fine artist. As a painter and silk screen printer, Knabe’s work is versatile and includes original paintings and limited-edition artwork, fabrics, wall coverings, exclusive lifestyle and home decor and licensed designs. His work can be found in the homes of high-profile musicians, athletes, former presidents, Hollywood directors and actors and at exclusive retailers and private corporations.

Knabe obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin and for more than 40 years, he has built a broad and varied portfolio that includes projects such as being the official artist of the Indianapolis 500, licensed collections for Fieldcrest and Hallmark companies and custom design work for Harrod’s department store in London. His early projects included working with American art icon Thomas Hart Benton on one of his last murals


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in Joplin, Missouri. After earning his MFA, Knabe moved to New York City and opened his first painting studio in Brooklyn in 1982. Upon building a national reputation, Knabe and his family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1994 to raise his children while continuing to expand his work and branding throughout the nation and beyond. “I landed here [Indianapolis] over 20 years ago,” Knabe shared. “About 15 years into my career, I had established a national reputation, and my late wife and I had our children at that point. It was unbelievably expensive to raise them in New York City, so we moved to Indianapolis, and I remember being concerned about being able to still ‘connect’ to clients, etc., but we took the risk, and it all worked out just fine.” Knabe and his current wife and business partner Kelle [Knabe] have been married five years and have known each other for many years. Knabe shared that Kelle was a former client. “Our studio is located on E. 54th Street, just off the Monon [Trail],” Knabe said. “It’s the very first studio that I’ve had that’s open to the public. Kelle runs the boutique at the front of the studio and the entire business end of my studio. It’s so humbling when people come into the boutique and studio and tell me how they love my work and how ‘positive’ they think it is — and that’s my goal.” When asked what artists have influenced Knabe throughout his career, he replied, “Robert Rauschenberg, certainly with the imagery. I learned to screen print in New York, and I had the privilege of learning from guys who were printing Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Their talent was just amazing.” Additionally, Knabe was influenced by the work of Sam Gilliam, who passed away this past June. “Sam did abstract work that was gorgeous,” Knabe expressed. “And even someone like Cy Twombly, who’s known for doing scribbles, has influenced me. My work is very narrative. However, I do put scribbles and writing in my work. I think


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it’s a very humane thing to do, and I love uniquely human elements. I bring those [elements] into my work.”

THE UNVEILING OF KNABE’S CCPL PIECE At the time of publication, the date for the highly anticipated unveiling had not been set in stone but is expected to be installed in time for the main library’s grand reopening celebration on Saturday, October 1. Knabe expressed his humility and gratitude for being commissioned to create an exceptional piece of art that embodies the spirit of community and inclusivity — two elements that CCPL prides itself for having developed and nurtured throughout its existence. “I was introduced to CCPL by a few people on the CCPL Foundation who know my work,” Knabe explained. “I am very humbled and grateful for this opportunity.” When asked what thoughts and emotions of his went into this piece, Knabe

thoughtfully replied, “The first word was ‘community.’ I do have to tell you that while the piece is narrative, it has an abstract element to it. While I certainly didn’t want to list all the things you can do in a library, I did make references to different things and have few ‘library’ quotes that I just really love.” Knabe described the piece as having imagery that depicts the library as a space

without boundaries and limitations — much like the universe. Knabe concluded, “There’s also an all-inclusive human element in it — it’s really a positive piece.” For more information on Walter Knabe and his studio/ boutique, visit, and for more information about the upcoming grand reopening of CCPL, visit

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J a k e

C a r m e l ’ s O w n L e t t s a n d T a y l o r

B i c k e t t :

Where Are They Now? Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Zachary Allen Bond, Kipp Shawger, Zach Rosing, Ruby Gaunt, Ian McLaren and Joshua Rish

Back in May 2017, I was thrilled to feature on the cover of “Carmel Monthly” two exceptional Carmel High School students and theatrical phenoms Taylor Bickett and Jake Letts, who brought the iconic award-winning Broadway production “Phantom of the Opera” to life on a local stage.


attended one of the CHS performances of this musical, and to this day, I can remember how I forgot that I was watching a high school production that rivaled many professional, off-Broadway versions of Phantom that I have seen. I can also still recall the raw emotions and authenticity that Bickett and Letts brought to their characters as “The Phantom” and “Christine Daae.” And I remember cursing at myself for bringing an inadequate amount of travel tissues to mop up the deluge of tears their performance evoked. As the years have progressed, I’ve kept in touch with Bickett and Letts and have enjoyed following their respective careers. And it brings me great joy to share with their hometown community what the two are currently doing as they continue to expand upon their respective horizons and inspire young, aspiring musicians and actors.

From Then to Now Taylor Bickett

Bickett grew up singing along to Radio Disney and Hannah Montana, and her mother got her into music fairly early at age nine. Under the tutelage of her vocal coach Blair Clark, Bickett began competing and engaging in the local arts scene — performing in school musicals and the Indianapolis

Children’s Choir. “I’d like to give a shout out to Blair [Clark] for everything he did for me when I was younger,” Bickett said. “And for the way he developed my talents and for believing in me.” After graduating from CHS, Bickett attended Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, which she described as “taking a big leap.” “Moving to Nashville has completely changed me as an artist and as a person,” Bickett shared. “I found a love for songwriting in college and entered this one competition my freshman year — it was a ‘Belmont has talent’ sort of contest, and up until then, I had never finished writing a song in my life. I remember feeling freaked out and panicked, and I wrote my first full song and performed it like three days later.” After winning that competition and getting the “push” that she felt she needed, Bickett began focusing on songwriting and started collaborating with people. “It wasn’t until COVID came around that I really started getting success [with songwriting],” Bickett said. “I honestly was so bored in March of 2020 during ‘quarantine,’ and my friends had been telling me that I needed to make a TikTok [video]. I got so bored that I did, and it happened so quickly — in the first couple of weeks, I started blowing up and it


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just kept going, which was a big confidence boost for me. It was really surreal.” Since then, Bickett has been releasing music, and some of her songs have been streaming really well and she has been afforded some positive and career-altering opportunities. Earlier this year, Bickett was crowned the first female champion of Music City Mayhem, an annual contest presented by Lightning 100, Nashville’s Independent Radio, for her performance of “Just My Type,” one of her own originals. Bickett expressed, “It’s been really exciting to be able to use all the different perks you get for winning [Music City Mayhem]. In addition to the heavy radio airplay and some performances, I’ve been working with some really cool management and strategy companies, which is huge for an independent artist. It was definitely not an easy win by any means, and my family, friends and fans really came through for me. My social [media] following really stepped up and voted, which was really humbling that people cared enough to click on that link.” Bickett’s debut single “Break My Own” originated from a viral TikTok video and is available on all streaming platforms now! Taylor has also written songs with and for other artists, including “I’m Still Lonely” by Charlie Pittman, which peaked at No. 2


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on the Alternative UK iTunes charts (No. 51 overall), and “Bottle of Sunshine” by YouTube star Adelaine Morin. She performs locally in the Indianapolis and Nashville areas and has opened for Hunter Hayes at a charity event for Children’s Miracle Network. For more information on Taylor Bickett, how to stream her music and what socials you can follow her on, visit

Jake Letts After graduating from CHS, Letts continued his musical theater studies at Ball State University. Letts credits his former voice teacher — the late Leslie Low, who taught in Westfield, Indiana — and the “living legend” Ron Hellems for his development of not only technique but showmanship as well. “For a long time, I thought I was going to be a band teacher, because I was an instrumentalist,” Letts shared. “And as soon as I hit the stage, I was like, ‘Something about this feels right.’ There are many pictures of me as a kid in top hats and bow ties. My first performance was ‘Singing in the Rain’ in the first grade. When I went to college, I learned that there’s a much deeper, richer educational side to theater, and the history was super interesting for me. Especially, finding out

that theater history is so deeply intertwined with black cultural history in America — they go hand in hand.” Letts’ passion for musical theater had become even more personal for him, and he found that all of the aspects of theater that challenged him the most were preparing him for the next phase of his musical theater career as an equity actor in his first professional production: The North American Tour of Disney’s “Aladdin.” Most recently, Letts has worked with the talented team at Discovering Broadway and is excited for what awaits him in the “The Big Apple” and beyond. I caught up with Letts as he was literally in the midst of packing up his life and getting ready to leave for New York City to begin rehearsals. “What’s going through my head,” Letts repeated the question I asked of him. “I’m super nervous. I’m excited for the connections that I’m going to make. I’ve never been away from home for this long before. I’m starting to realize how nervous the thought of being in any form of a spotlight can make me. I haven’t done a musical since I was in ‘Newsies’ at [the] Civic [Theatre] in 2019, so, it’s been a few years, and I can tell that I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself.”

Letts continued, “I want to represent myself and the people who trained me well, and I think everything will be fine. Typically, once I’m in the [rehearsal] room, everything just kind of falls into place — like muscle memory, in a way. I just really want to make sure that I’m somebody who’s producing quality work, and that is my main focus right now. I’ve always wanted to be in this situation where I feel like I’m being challenged to do my absolute best [work]. I love that and enjoy that environment. I want to be pushed because they want to see more of what I can do and not because I’m lacking. I am so honored to be a part of this show, and to bring this story [Aladdin] to life! Thanks to my family, friends and teachers who helped get me where I am today.” The North American Tour of Disney’s “Aladdin” will launch in Schenectady, New York, at Proctors, playing October 11–23, 2022, and will play 36 cities during the 2022–23 season, including Indianapolis at Clowes Memorial Hall, November 15–20. Be sure to follow Jake Letts on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. For more information on the tour, visit AladdinTheMusical. com/tour, and

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FRANC D’AMBROSIO FOR AN EXCLUSIVE PRIVATE FUNDRAISING CONCERT IN SUPPORT OF UKRAINIAN REFUGEES D’Ambrosio is known best for his long-running role as The Phantom of the Opera and his role as Al Pacino's son Anthony Corleone in “The Godfather, Part III.”

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1ST 5:30 pm – 9:30pm PLACE: Mr. Ryan and Mrs. Amy Wright’s private residence: Indianapolis CAPACITY: seating is limited to the first 50 people


Cocktails and authentic Ukrainian hors d’oeuvres and small plates 6:50 P.M.

Opening comments from event emcee 7:00 P.M.

Performance by Indiana’s own Don Farrell and Terry Woods followed by Indiana Ballet Conservatory’s presentation of Ukrainian dance 7:15 P.M.

Special presentation by the Polish Dominican Friars 7:40 P.M.


100% goes to support Ukrainian refugees The cost of tickets and donations are 100% tax deductible

Live auction 8:00 P.M.

Surprise celebrity video performance 8:10 P.M.

Concert by special guest performer Franc D’Ambrosio

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